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If instead of video games you're looking for board games, check out Stiv's "Guess Where?" puzzle! ;)


Instructions (adapted from The GCHQ Puzzle Book (2016) and the introductory puzzle here on Puzzling Stack Exchange): The words in the following list can be partitioned into equal-sized sets depending on words associated with them; each set has its own word association method. This list is arranged so that these associated words are in alphabetical order. One of these sets is missing a member, so you have to work out where in the list the associated word fits alphabetically, and hence where the word itself should appear in the list. The list should be read from left to right and top to bottom and is only written in columns for convenience. (See the introductory puzzle for a more detailed explanation and an example.)


The question to answer is:

Where does 'Pawn' fit in the following list?

Coral Flea Angry Candle Due
Lightning Beach Haze Fable Per
Just Jungle Key Desert Man
Duck Drill Kingdom Outpost Swallow
Shovel Tail Crescent Ton Bank
Skinny Meadows Skyscraper Hand History
Dish Rot Insect Cellar Slime
Dash Shaker Rose Mountain Well
Muffler Fish Farming Dead Row
Burner Blooper Canyon Pole Weaver
Moth Ninetales Den Beard Fair

Crucially this time, every set relates to video games in some way.

Please hold off posting partial answers unless you think you have found at least half of the correct word associations (although if you make it that far, why not push to complete the whole puzzle!). Thank you, and enjoy!

A note about this particular puzzle:

Some associations in this puzzle are a little trickier than others I've used in the past; one in particular is pretty involved, but hopefully it is apparent why I decided to use it! 😅

Hints:

There are four remaining categories: two of them involve well-known game franchises, while the other two involve less well-known (but still popular) individual video games.

Out of these four remaining categories, two of them involve wordplay (including the "pretty involved" one I alluded too).

@Stiv is right that "the inclusion of 'Ninetales' (a Pokémon) when there has already been another Pokémon category is mystifying", since its inclusion does not relate to Pokémon!

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1 Answer 1

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This is a partial answer with half of the groups resolved pretty confidently (as per the post's stipulations) - given the OP's remarks that some groupings are trickier than usual, this may require a group effort to resolve fully and this answer might help kickstart that process...

Since there are 55 words in the table, with 'PAWN' there must be 56 words in total, making for 7 groups of 8 or 8 groups of 7 - I believe it is the latter.

My resolution of the word-set so far:

Coral
Flea
Angry BIRDS
Candle
Due
Lightning
CHEEP CHEEP Beach
Haze
(CLEF) Fable
[CREE] Per
Just DANCE
DINO DINO Jungle
[DON] Key
DRY DRY Desert
[ENDER] Man
(GOLD) Duck
Drill
Kingdom HEARTS
ICE ICE Outpost
Swallow
Shovel KNIGHT
Tail
Crescent
(MAGNET) Ton
Bank
Skinny
MOO MOO Meadows
Skyscraper
Hand
History
(ODD) Dish
[PAR] Rot
Insect
Cellar
Slime RANCHER
(RAPID) Dash
Shaker
Rose
ROCK ROCK Mountain
Well
Muffler
[SILVER] Fish
Farming SIMULATOR
Dead SPACE
(SPEAR) Row
Burner
Blooper
SWEET SWEET Canyon
[TAD] Pole
Weaver
(VENOM) Moth
Ninetales
[WAR] Den
Beard
Fair

Based off the following groups (in solving order):

Group 1: Repeated words in Mario Kart race tracks:
CHEEP CHEEP Beach, DINO DINO Jungle, DRY DRY Desert, ICE ICE Outpost, MOO MOO Meadows, ROCK ROCK Mountain, SWEET SWEET Canyon.

Group 2: Words which overlap with those provided by a single letter to form names of Gen I Pokémon*:
CLEF+Fable (Clefable), GOLD+Duck (Golduck), MAGNET+Ton (Magneton), ODD+Dish (Oddish), RAPID+Dash (Rapidash), SPEAR+Row (Spearow), VENOM+Moth (Venomoth).

Group 3: Words that can precede those provided to form names of Minecraft 'mobs':
CREE+Per (Creeper), DON+Key (Donkey), ENDER+Man (Enderman), PAR+Rot (Parrot), SILVER+Fish (Silverfish), TAD+Pole (Tadpole), WAR+Den (Warden).

Group 4: Two-word video game franchises missing their second word:
Angry BIRDS, Just DANCE, Kingdom HEARTS, Shovel KNIGHT, Slime RANCHER, Farming SIMULATOR, Dead SPACE.

* Thanks to @PattuX in comments for assistance with the precise connecting rule here.

I have no firm categories for the remaining four groups, but several observations I'm currently working with...

1. There are several words with useful synonyms that fit in their alphabetical positions, particularly Insect (PARASITE), Shaker (RATTLE), Muffler (SILENCER), Burner (STOVE), Beard (WHISKERS), and Fair (YELLOW). Some or all (or none!) of these may be useful if a shared connection can be spotted...

2. 'Flea' is an anagram of ALEF, the hero of the Dragon Quest series of games.

3. The inclusion of 'Ninetales' (a Pokémon) when there has already been another Pokémon category is mystifying. Its position lends itself nicely to either VULPIX (from which it evolves in-game) or VIXEN (the type of animal you might say it is). Since a 'Blooper' is a SQUID in the Mario games, I've toyed with the idea that there are animals hidden in this grid, but cannot identify any others...

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  • $\begingroup$ This is most likely a dead end as well, but for Ninetales rot13(vgf Trezna anzr Ihyaban jbhyq svg va nycunorgvpny beqre. Ohg V pnaabg svaq nal bgure punenpgre anzrf gung bar pbhyq genafyngr, yrg nybar univat gur genafyngvba svg gur nycunorgvpny beqre.) $\endgroup$
    – PattuX
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ I can confirm these categories are correct, although the rules for groups 2 and 3 could be made more specific (I leave that as an exercise to the reader since it doesn't really have a bearing on the solution 😉) $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 15:52
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    $\begingroup$ For the Pokémon the intended/extended rule would probably be rot13(gung gur svefg cneg bs gur anzr cyhf gur svefg yrggre bs gur tvira cneg vf nyfb na Ratyvfu jbeq (pyrs, tbyq, zntarg, bqq, encvq, fcrne, irabz) nygubhtu V thrff gung vf ol qrfvta bs gur Cbxézba anzrf) $\endgroup$
    – PattuX
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ @PattuX That works - a 1-letter overlap. Similarly, group 3's rule is probably that the first part is a real word in itself (if we use some proper nouns like this where needed...) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ Right on both counts! 😁 $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 20:27

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